|Into the Arms of Forever
Author: Miss Kristin of the Shire PM
A sequel to "The Weary Trail of Deathless Days," this is the story of Frodo and Sam's life together in the Undying Lands after Bilbo's passing.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Angst - Frodo B. & Samwise G. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 31,273 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 10-05-12 - Published: 09-06-12 - id: 8503484
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The orange disc of the sun was fast descending in the coral-ribbed sky when the two hobbits had moored on Tol Eressëa again. Their carriage stood at the ready to transport them back home, for they were both of them wearied after a long day of travel. Calaeron admitted them, as before, and Sam managed a clumsy bow, though he nearly toppled over in the effort, saddled with fatigue as he was. Calaeron deftly righted him again as Frodo took him by the hand, and he was helped inside the coach with a look of sheepish apology on his face. He fell asleep at once, his head resting on Frodo's shoulder, his breathing even and tranquil. With Sam's quiet breath, the ocean-song interminable, and the faraway cawing of the gulls commingling in his ears, his head sank slowly downward until his cheek rested upon the top of Sam's silver-grey curls and he too closed his eyes.
They did not rest long before Calaeron was obliged to wake them again. He led them through the front door of their quaint little dwelling and left with their thanks calling after him. Wordlessly, Frodo and Sam put their arms around each other's backs in mutual support as they shuffled off to bed. Sam drew back the coverlet as Frodo stepped in and laid himself down, then climbed in after him. He held Frodo snugly in his arms, his face nestled softly in the crook of his neck as they were whisked away into a sleep untainted by care or sadness.
The next morning found them in high spirits, so blissful and untroubled had been their dreaming. Colours seemed enhanced so that the rainbow palette of the world became more vivid, and commonplace morning sounds became lyrical and melodious as though it were a sweeping orchestra arranged by a master composer. Every flower on its slender stalk, every swatch of grass and leafy tree was charged with a life as vital and self-aware as any sentient being. The birds trilled conversationally with the many agents of nature in their merry voices, and the ocean breakers beyond added their own song in alternating crescendos and descrescendos.
Frodo and Sam stood out on the verandah, their ears and minds duly receptive to the wonders that surrounded them, neither one daring to interrupt the pageantry of colour and sound that swathed them in its billowy folds for a long while. At last, Sam was moved to speech.
"It' so beautiful, Mr. Frodo, that I don't know whether to laugh or cry or both. And here I'd thought I'd seen all of the best places that there are back in Middle-earth. Somehow, it never ceases to surprise me, though I look upon it every morn. I wish Rose and the children could-a seen it."
"We are very fortunate indeed to share in this beauty alongside the Elves. But then, this is a haven for those who no longer have any business left in Middle-earth and there are few, perhaps, who would be as eager to follow as you might imagine, even among your kin, as deeply as I know they miss you."
"I suppose you're right, Mr. Frodo. The children are in their right home, after all, and they wouldn't be in a hurry to leave it, magic or no magic, I'll warrant. Still, it would be nice if they could just catch a glimpse of the place, or stop over for a kind of holiday, if you like, though I know that can't be. Sometimes I wish I had one of those Seeing-stones like what the King had so I could look in on them now and then to see how they're keeping. Ah, but there's naught to worry about I suppose. I reckon that their mum's watching over 'em better than I could now."
"I am sure she is, Sam, just as she is watching over you. But your children too know that their old Dad is with them always in thought and in heart, and your presence in the Shire will endure as long as your line shall continue, though you are now removed from it – and that, my dear hobbit, will be a very long time indeed," Frodo affirmed.
"I dearly hope so. All the same, it would be a weight off if I was able to drop in on them from time to time. Speaking of, Mr. Frodo, how're you feeling now that you've got to visit Mr. Bilbo?"
"Better; much, much better. It has brought me much-needed closure after that fearful dream of mine. I laboured in mind for a time, trying to decide how to proceed. But now it seems that I have returned to my proper place," he said, lacing his fingers with Sam's.
"That you have, sir. You've got nothing to worry about anymore, not as long as I'm here with you. That's a promise."
The two fell silent again, their hands clasped between them as they trained their eyes on the seascape again. Frodo knew that Sam would do everything in his power to make good on his promise, had always known it. But then he thought of the discussion that he had had with Gandalf aboard the ship to Valinor and his face grew graver, and his hold on Sam's hand loosened perceptibly. Sam glanced sidelong at Frodo and then did a quick double-take when he had read the lineaments of his face.
"What is it, Mr. Frodo? What's wrong?"
Frodo recalled himself from his unbidden reverie and unwound the tension that had stretched across his face.
"Nothing, it is nothing. I was only thinking to myself, perhaps a bit too intently," he said, patting Sam's hand calmingly with his free hand and releasing the other from his grasp.
"Now, sir, don't go forgetting what you said yesterday. There aren't to be any secrets between us, and I mean to hold you to it. There's no good that'll come of keeping things to yourself no-how. And I didn't like that look, no sir, I didn't like it at all. You'd best be telling me what it was about, for I'll not let it slide, I can tell you!" Sam replied fervently.
Frodo hesitated, disinclined to dampen the mood with gloomy cogitations and private heart-whisperings.
"I did say that, didn't I? I did not mean to break faith, Sam, it is only difficult to say some things aloud in the bright light of day when there is so much to be thankful for. But you are right, I owe it to you to hold nothing back, after all that you have done for me."
Frodo paused, struggling to frame his thoughts.
"I was just thinking of something that Gandalf had said to me yesterday. It rather put me out of countenance, as a matter of fact. He thought my dream – my nightmare, I should say – might suggest that a complete recovery…might not be possible for me. That perhaps – perhaps – the nature of my illness will prevent me from ever being fully healed."
"I don't understand," Sam replied. "One bad dream and he's ready to throw his hands up just like that?"
"It is not only the dream, Sam. The Ring, though it was unmade, cannot ever really be unremembered. And it does come back to my mind, at whiles, particularly when I am troubled at heart, though that seldom chances here in the Undying Lands."
"But what could be left to trouble you now, sir? What with me here, and not going noplace without you, as I've said. And if you've a mind to see Mr. Bilbo again, then all you've got to do is ask and it's good as done."
"There is one thing that has lately occurred to me, one thing that has been weighing on my mind since my talk with Gandalf. I cannot predict what will happen as time goes on, Sam, though I have reason to hope that you are right when you say that my troubles are behind me. But if it should prove otherwise, if the pain of reliving past hurts should grow in proportion as the days lengthen, then… I worry what that will mean for you, my dear Sam."
He exhaled shakily, dropping his gaze as though ashamed at his confession so bluntly stated. But Sam gently lifted Frodo's chin with one of his weathered hands so that their eyes met, and took him firmly by the shoulders.
"That's not going to happen, not on my watch. I won't allow it. You must believe that, Mr. Frodo, or else why did you come here at all? You're here to get well, to put the past behind you, not to let it finally get the better of you. Maybe the forgetting's not so easy, like you said, for memories aren't like weeds that you can pull up by the roots, no matter how much you wish you could. But that doesn't mean that you can't move on from all that's happened. I know you can, and don't you doubt it for a second. Because you're Frodo, bravest of all hobbits, and I mean that with all my heart. You're stronger than what you give yourself credit for, stronger by far. I know it because I've seen it. I've seen up close the way you've fought through the cruelest of times when all else seemed lost, the way you pushed yourself through danger even though your own life was on the line, the way you never gave up even when it would-a been easier to lay down. You must have faith in yourself. Have faith in you like I do, like Mr. Bilbo did. I wouldn't lead you astray, you know that. I aim to help you any way I can. Have faith in us, Mr. Frodo," Sam ended, kissing his master's hand.
Underneath the skies of Aman, with sun-sparkle glittering on waves of blue in the background and Samwise, equally radiant in love and devotion beside him, Frodo felt he could weep for the blessings that had been heaped upon him. The fullness of his heart had rendered him momentarily speechless, though much that was not communicated in words was readily interpretable in his eyes.
"Sam," he said, his faculty of speech returned, "I have never for a moment lost faith in you. I have never doubted what we two could accomplish together. But if it had not been for you, what strength I have in me should have deserted me utterly, both then and now. All of my efforts should have been in vain if I had not had my Sam to carry me through the darkness. And now that you are here, I have found strength anew, strength that could hardly be believed in the wake of Bilbo's departure. You are right, Sam. I must not yield to despair. Whatever may come, I shall find courage to face it so long as you near me. But in bravery, in sheer bravery there is surely no hobbit that surpasses you, my dearest friend, whatever you might say. Samwise the stouthearted," Frodo intoned elegantly with an affectionate smile. Sam grinned back at him, the colour rising to his cheeks.
"There, we'll have to agree to disagree, begging your pardon," he answered. "But come now, no more talk of unhappy things. What say we go for a nice long walk and clear out all of this clutter that's taken up so much space in our heads? It's too lovely a day to be shut in behind closed doors, don't you think?"
"It certainly is. As a matter of fact, I think that it is one of the loveliest days that I have ever known in all of my years on this isle," Frodo remarked.
With a bit of gentle nudging, Frodo had persuaded Sam to walk with him along the outskirts of the Sea where the virgin sand twinkled under the white light of high noon.
"Don't be afraid, lad, I shan't run off again!" Frodo vowed, as Sam approached the perimeter of the water with a look of guarded mistrust. "You have nothing to be fearful of, for there is no evil in this water. Here you are, take my hand so that you may be contented."
Linked together as they were, Frodo and Sam strolled desultorily along the ocean's edge. Emboldened by his master's reassurance, Sam eventually permitted Frodo to lead him close enough to the Sea that its waters washed coolly over his furry feet as with a crystal film.
"You're right, Mr. Frodo, it's not so bad once you get a feel for it. Makes for a rather nice pick-me-up if I do say so myself."
Frodo smiled knowingly and cast a careless glance out toward the horizon. Then, he came to a stop quite suddenly and felt Sam's body tense instantaneously beside him.
"Mr. Frodo?" he called, doing a poor job of concealing his panic.
"Dear me, what an ass I am to startle you like that! No no, Sam, I am fine, perfectly fine! I only stopped because I saw a shape advancing on the water – look there," he pointed. Sam followed the line of his finger and indeed saw a dark speck some leagues away gliding on the ocean's glassy surface.
"Save me, but you mustn't scare me like that, sir! I nearly jumped right out of my skin when you'd stopped all a-sudden. But I see it now, sure enough. Why, it must be a ship, but who could be coming now, I wonder?"
"Let us wait and see!" said Frodo, and the two sat down in the sand together awaiting the seafarer's approach.